Shot in 2014 but delayed by a series of issues with potential distributors, Mark Dossett’s debut film The Torment Of Laurie Ann Cullom has finally been released. Set in 1988 and influenced by the slashers of that decade, it picked up some impressive reviews on the festival circuit. Does it live up the hype?
Laurie Ann Cullom (Shannon Scott) is agoraphobic as a result of a brutal attack a year ago. She lives with her mother (Vicky Schomp) as she tries to get her life back in order. But her mother is out of town for a bit and Laurie is on her own.
She becomes convinced that she’s not alone, but the sheriff (Mark Dossett) is skeptical. If there is someone or something in the house, Laurie is going to have to deal with it herself.
The film got off to a rocky start with me. The film’s introduction gives away the ending, (the trailer does as well, so you may want to avoid it). Knowing how it all ends is usually the kiss of death for me. However, The Torment Of Laurie Ann Cullom actually managed to hold my attention. Despite that and a very slow burn of a first half.
As The Torment Of Laurie Ann Cullom opens we hear a radio announcer mention a missing girl. Apart from a few strange noises, Laurie hears that’s it until around the forty-five-minute mark. Much of that time is spent watching Laurie wander around the house occasionally reacting to what thinks she sees or hears.
Thankfully, Shannon Scott is an excellent and charismatic actress. She holds our attention as she tries to deal with her growing fears. She’s on-screen for most of the film, much of it alone. This was her first film and she does an incredible job of carrying it. The fact she looks so cute in her shorts doesn’t hurt either.
The last half of the film is a very effective game of cat and mouse as the unnamed hulking killer stalks his prey. And anyone unlucky enough to cross his path. There isn’t a lot of gore in The Torment Of Laurie Ann Cullom. There are however some wince-inducing moments. Most notably a Die Hard inspired one involving bare feet and broken glass. The film’s other major homage is to, of all things, Risky Business.
Terror Films will be rolling The Torment Of Laurie Ann Cullom out across the various streaming platforms in the coming months. You can check for more details on the Terror Films Facebook page.